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Retired Army Brigadier General Named VP of Veterans Services
David Blackledge has been promoted to Executive Vice President of Melwood Veterans Services, LLC. Blackledge is a retired Army Brigadier General with 37 years of military service. He initially joined Melwood in January as Program Director of Operation Tohidu®, a retreat program for veterans and active duty service members coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, mild traumatic brain injury, depression, substance abuse, and more.
Drawing from his experience in the military and as a faculty member for the Defense Centers of Excellence for Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health, Blackledge enhanced Melwood’s fledgling Operation Tohidu® program, making it more accessible, more comfortable and, more impactful for today’s veterans. Under his leadership, Operation Tohidu® added specialized retreats, including one specifically for female veterans struggling with military sexual trauma, and a couples retreat that focuses not only on the veteran, but also on training and support for spouses or caregivers to help families cope with the stresses of service-related trauma.
In his new role, Blackledge will be responsible for building programs and services within Melwood Veterans Services, LLC to include not only the existing Operation Tohidu® program, but also new services such as job development and placement services, job training, and advocacy around support for veterans and active duty military personnel struggling with the impact of deployment on their personal reintegration.
Melwood Welcomes New Assistant VP of Melwood Veterans Services
Mark Pearson has been appointed to serve as our new Assistant Vice President of Melwood Veterans Services, LLC. In this new role, Pearson is responsible for overseeing Operation Tohidu®, an experiential retreat program; identifying, fostering, and nurturing value-adding partnerships; and expanding the services available to the veteran population.
Pearson is a retired British Army Infantry Officer, who also served in the U.S. and NATO Task Forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to joining Melwood, Pearson worked in encrypted communications, and before that, as an independent security consultant in the U.S. and Europe – predominantly in the fields of technical and physical surveillance, intelligence development, and as an instructor to NATO Forces in network disruption operations.
Pearson joins our Melwood Veterans Services at a time of consolidation and scope expansion. His focus will be on program evaluation and development, and creating systems that increase the value and services offered to veterans.
Melwood Welcomes New Operation Tohidu® Operations Manager
Travis Rahill is Melwood’s new Operations Manager for Operation Tohidu®. Rahill will build on the success of Operation Tohidu®, by helping to develop and grow support services, create new programs, activities and resources, and training for veterans and their families.
Rahill is retired from the U.S. Army as a Sergeant First Class, serving a total of 22 years, four in the Marines and 18 in the Army. His assignments included Camp Lejeune, NC, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Fort Cambell, KY, Fort Carson, CO, Fort Bliss, TX, and a tour as a U.S. Army Recruiter in Connecticut. His overseas assignments include Somalia, Cuba, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Rahill received the following awards: the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal (two awards), and Combat Infantry Badge. He is a graduate of Ashford University and is currently pursuing a Master of Military History.